Black Lightning recap: Born to run
This season has been broken up into several mini-arcs, and the latest one has just kicked off with Khalil and Jennifer on the run. Their first stop is at one of Khalil’s old Tobias-approved haunts, and it immediately goes sideways. He picks up some cash but has to fight through a room full of armed thugs to make his getaway. He wouldn’t have made it out at all if it weren’t for Jennifer, who generates a pulsating ball of yellow lightning that blinds the gangsters and knocks one of them off a roof. Clearly, these kids have some lessons to learn about life on the road.
It’s a five-alarm fire at the Pierce home, especially once Anissa tells her parents that Jennifer likely ran off with Khalil. Jefferson immediately hits the streets as Black Lightning and even attacks a random car just because a young man and woman who look vaguely like the two runaways are behind the wheel. He’s not the only one getting into mix-ups. Henderson tells every Freeland cop to carry a picture of Jennifer in their cars until they find her. Soon he gets a report of a body that matches the missing girl’s description, but it turns out to be someone else.
Jennifer’s powers continue to prove valuable as a runaway. When Khalil’s training with the One Hundred fails to help him hotwire a car, Jennifer’s powers take care of it for them. She says she wants to call her parents quickly to let them know she’s okay, but Khalil vehemently refuses. He gets angrier and angrier until he finally snaps at her. He thinks that any such call would only help Tobias catch their trail, and Khalil is downright terrified of Tobias. It reminds me a bit of how the Hulk refuses to transform after getting his butt kicked by Thanos in Infinity War. After losing so convincingly to Tobias in their fight, on top of the belittling and manipulation, Khalil is scared of ever being in the same room as him again.
He and Jennifer find a safe hiding place with his aunt, but Jennifer doesn’t let him get away with yelling at her. “If you snap at me again, Tobias is the last person you’ll need to worry about.” And she’s been using her powers enough recently to prove it. He agrees and lets her call her parents. As grateful as Jefferson and Anissa are to hear that Jennifer’s alive, they’re not satisfied with the brief call and are still desperate to find her.
NEXT: Unintended consequences
Lynn is not taking her daughter’s disappearance well. After some drinks, she cries in Jennifer’s room, and then the sadness turns to rage as she starts knocking over everything. When Anissa comes up later to see the mess, Jefferson heavily implies that he blames her for not telling them sooner that Jennifer had been talking to Khalil. Now that is absolutely the wrong thing to say, inspiring Anissa to rightfully retort that if anyone’s to blame for Jennifer running away, it’s Jefferson and Lynn. They may have had their daughter’s best interests at heart, but their insistence on her never leaving the house ended up enhancing her feelings of being a freak, especially when she barely understood her powers and what was happening to her. Anissa tells Jefferson that he’s the one who pushed Jennifer away, just like he pushed Anissa away. The look on Jefferson’s face after she slams the door on him is heartbreaking.
Despite the strife, they do end up figuring out Jennifer’s location just in time. Tobias has sent a knife-wielding bounty hunter after her (a possible replacement for Syonide?) and Khalil has his hands full fighting off her blades. This woman, who apparently has an endless supply of knives, uses them to pin Khalil to the kitchen table and Jennifer to a wall; her fighting style reminds me of the scene in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs when Tim Blake Nelson methodically shoots off every finger on his dueling opponent’s hand. It takes just long enough for Black Lightning to arrive and fight off the assailant before she can deliver a fatal blow.
Although they save Jennifer, Black Lightning and Thunder fail to secure her. She and Khalil escape in the chaos. Jennifer realizes that Tobias and the knife woman were able to find them because of a tracking device implanted in Khalil’s head. Luckily she’s able to fry it (just as they blackout Gambi’s surveillance drone), and they resume their running — now harder to find than ever.
Unfortunately, Black Lightning’s intervention may have had an unintended side effect. Tobias is a smart guy, and he’s now seen Black Lightning rush to the defense of Jefferson Pierce’s daughters a few too many times not to put two and two together…